Browsing the shelves of a bookstore several months ago on a rare day without the kids, I picked up a deep blue hardcover copy of Peter Pan. My boys had been playing Peter Pan daily since I had let them watch Disney's version, but I had never read the book and wondered if, as in most cases, it was better than the movie. I flipped open to the first chapter.
...Of course they lived at 14, and until Wendy came her mother was the
chief one. She was a lovely lady, with a romantic mind and such a sweet
mocking mouth. Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the
other, that come from the puzzling East, however many you discover there is
always one more; and her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand
The way Mr Darling won her was this: the many gentlemen who had been boys
when she was a girl discovered simultaneously that they loved her, and they all
ran to her house to propose to her except Mr Darling, who took a cab and nipped
in first, and so he got her. He got all of her, except the innermost box
and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and in time he gave up trying
for the kiss. Wendy thought Napoleon could have got it, but I can picture
him trying, and then going off in a passion, slamming the door.
I could barely wait to read more, but I had several other books in progress, so although of course the book came home with me, I put it away in the hidden place where I keep gifts I have bought for the kids, and then forgot about it by the time my other books were finished. I pulled it out two nights ago when I was ready to wrap gifts for Christopher Robin, who turned 6 yesterday.
I had planned to read it aloud to him, because it has few pictures and 17 chapters. I bought a couple of other simpler books with pictures on every page for him to read to himself during rest time.
I was surprised how thrilled Peanut Butter was to be able to give the book to his brother as his gift. It was, after all, a book, not a toy. But it IS a beautiful blue, with even a matching blue ribbon attatched as a book mark, and they do love the story of Peter Pan. Peanut Butter chuckled with glee, chose some brown paper with brown and pink dots to wrap it in, and promised not to tell.
When Christopher Robin opened the book as his very first gift of his birthday, he seemed a little hesitant. I wasn't sure that was the best timing, since it was one of the few gifts he couldn't use right away, and at the beginning of the day it's fun to open something you can start playing with and enjoy all morning. But he flipped it open and looked quietly, then began reading silently to himself. I didn't tell him I was planning to read it aloud to him, and he took it over to the couch and read, not interested in anything else for a few minutes. He kept going back to it, and when he opened Billy and Blaze just before rest time, he left it on the floor and kept reading Peter Pan.
I knew it would come, but it surprised me still. It's as though he slipped quietly through the door of chapter books and left me behind... I still haven't read Peter Pan, and he's delving into the world silently, alone.
I have long been thinking that I would soon be spending most of my reading time trying to keep up with books he's reading. There are so many worlds open to him now, and I want to be sure he's keeping out of the sordid and dangerous ones, and keep him supplied with the ones that are heroic and honest and true. But now the time is here, I feel a little breathless with the surprise and also apprehension. The older, he gets the less I can control what he's exposed to, and although I love to see him reach new heights and open new worlds, I wish I could always direct him to the good and the true.
I know my direct influence dwindles as his world expands, so I find myself more and more on my knees, asking, begging God to show Himself to my son, and to watch over him and guide him to people who will teach him good things and inspire him to devote his life to worship of our mighty God, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, and courageous obedience to Him.